68. I Want to See You
This week’s Guild Wars was mainly focused on the last fortress to be conquered – Serica-3. This was the only fortress left which hadn’t been conquered before. The other 19 fortresses all belonged to one guild or another by now.
It didn’t mean the monster guards were hard to defeat. Instead, it’s because of the fortress’s complicated landscape. There were even traps around every corner. Everyone hated it.
However, none of this concerned the Heretic Demons. Their target for the day was conquering a third city. It didn’t matter if it was a 1, 2 or 4, as long as they fulfil the requirement for a real-life gathering. Once that was done, they’ll go bother the I Die For Riches guild. Either way one worded things, the Heretic Demons had locked their sights on this rich, money-hungry guild.
Today, XiaoYu felt like more people was going through his portals than before. Most of them were female players. He didn’t know that because he got distracted and stared at the pretty ladies, but those women, those girls, their burning gazes boring into him were hard to ignore.
This was all the fault of the leading couple being so into themselves that they’ve ignored just how eye-catching they were. Hand in hand, they’d roamed all over Prole and its nearby towns. Any observant guild member would find it hard to miss them. Then, they heard through the gossip vine that this suspected “wife” of their leader was actually one of the “airport” pilots from a subsidiary guild. How can they not take this one opportunity to sneak a few peeks at him?
Of course, not all of these gawkers were part of the special fu—group. Some were stared at XiaoYu with envy and jealousy. They called themselves the “guards” of QiYao. Players of all sorts walked through his portals, men and women alike. Wave after wave, the curious and analysing glances made XiaoYu wonder if there was something strange stuck on his face.
In spite of everything, no one actively stepped up to gossip and ask him anything. It was event time. If they were caught slacking, they’d be punished. The Heretic Demons didn’t have any extremist members who were that unruly. They’d have been kicked out way earlier.
Ignoring all these trivial changes, there were a few major outcomes to this Guild Wars.
One, the Wolf Clan finally took down Serica-3. Based on the rewards announced, it was actually on the same difficulty as Prole-3. This made everyone cry out at how unfair this prankster of a game was. What fortress would have traps set all over the place from the start?
Two, due to all fortresses being conquered, a long server maintenance was announced. As most players were currently in the midst of battle, the server would only be down for 4 days from Sunday 6 a.m. to Thursday 6 a.m. All players were asked to finish up their business tonight and log off before then.
Three, the subsidiary guild Egg_Tart was in charge of, Suicide Squad, was able to snatch back Prole-4 with the help of the second subsidiary guild of the Heretic Demons, the Heretic Demons Guards. They were able to hold onto their newly acquired fortress to the last second. Now that they had the help of another subsidiary guild, the tanky Knights from I Die For Riches guild were all slaughtered before they even had a chance to use their special items. Along with Prole-3 and Prole-5, they now had three fortresses. That meant…they’ll be having a real-life gathering!
Not a single Heretic Demons guild member cared about some server maintenance announcement. They were all huddled together and chattering nonstop about their upcoming meet-up. The server would be down for quite a while this time. It left just enough time for their real-life event. Hence, everyone rambled on as they waited for the higher-ups to make the final decision.
XiaoYu looked around at the crowd drunk with joy. All of a sudden, he felt as if he didn’t quite fit in. Truly, no matter what the meet-up in real life would be like, it all had nothing to do with him. While he wanted to meet those he fought alongside in the game, especially Big Brother Lin and QiYao who had been so nice to him from the start, he didn’t forget his circumstances. He was unable to walk out of his front door.
When XiaoYu thought about how he’d missed out on seeing QiYao in person, a stabbing pain pierced through his heart. Perhaps his life had been a little too carefree and comfortable lately. It made him forget this was just a game. QiYao didn’t understand just how much of a powerless coward XiaoYu was in reality. If their relationship continued on, it’d only made XiaoYu sink further into this trap. In the end, he might be hurt the worst.
Maybe XiaoYu could use these four days to think about just what he should do about this.
XiaoYu went back to Prole alone. He emptied out his bag and repacked it. After feeding the tiny cat, he messaged QiYao. He planned on telling the other he’d log off first. As server maintenance would start early in the morning, he didn’t want to be kicked offline in the middle of his sleep.
“Yao, are you busy?”
“Is there something you need, XiaoYu?” There certainly was a rowdy group crowded around QiYao, but his precious baby was more important than them.
“No. I just want to tell you I’m logging off to sleep.”
“Mn.” The server was going to be down very early tomorrow morning. It’d be bad if the process of getting kicked out of the game led to corrupted data. “Wait. Where are you now?”
“West Storage of Prole.”
“Wait a while for me. I’ll be there soon.” QiYao recalled something important. Thus, he placed Poor_Man in charge of the entire gathering while he left the meeting early.
As QiYao walked closer to the aforementioned Storage, he found a bored XiaoYu kicking tiny pebbles around. He pulled up the map. They were very near that little alley. And so, QiYao led XiaoYu along the streets towards their little alleyway. Thankfully, there were no bored players playing cards today. It was very peaceful.
“What is it, Yao?” XiaoYu might be used to being curled into an embrace the moment they were alone, but XiaoYu was still feeling confused on how he should do about his relationship with the other man. He just wanted to log off as soon as possible to consider what was going on in his life.
QiYao had always been a keen observer to XiaoYu’s emotions. The moment he heard XiaoYu speak in a slightly glum and distracted tone, he knew something was wrong. With XiaoYu before his eyes now, it was clear as day something was wrong. The mildly upset expression on the younger man’s face confirmed his suspicions. Who said only women had a sharp intuition? Men were just as hawk-eyed if they were attentive enough.
“Can you tell me your mobile or house phone number?”
“The server will be down tomorrow. I won’t be able to tell you when and where the gathering will be.”
“It’s fine. I can’t attend.” XiaoYu lowered his face. He didn’t dare look at QiYao’s face right now. XiaoYu’s hands curled into loose fists against QiYao’s chest where they had been trapped against.
“XiaoYu, I really want to see you. Don’t you want to see me?”
“I do…but I’m sorry. I can’t leave my house.” His fists were now clenched tight and quivering ever so slightly. He really wanted to meet QiYao in real life, but he didn’t have the courage to step out of his apartment. He was still terrified of the cars outside.
“…” The man could feel the pain XiaoYu was in. He held the shivering body closer to him. He really wanted to know why, but he can’t just force XiaoYu to tell him. He believed there was something painful his XiaoYu was suffering from. He gently patted XiaoYu on the back in an attempt to calm the little guy down. He wasn’t in a rush because he had another way to go about this. He didn’t want XiaoYu to keep escaping from reality.
XiaoYu, who had been burying his head in QiYao’s embrace like an ostrich, didn’t know if QiYao’s sudden silence was out of disappointment or something else. He really didn’t want the other man to hate him, but he didn’t know what to do.
“I’m so very sorry.”
“It’s fine. It’s okay to miss out on the meet-up.” QiYao tilted XiaoYu’s head up until their eyes met. “If you can’t walk out, then let me walk in. Okay?”
“Yes. Tell me your address and I’ll come to you.” He paused. “XiaoYu, I really want to see you.”
“…” XiaoYu could tell just how much the man really wanted to meet him in person from that sincere gaze. How could he not want to meet QiYao in person too? He didn’t know if QiYao would be disappointed at how he truly was in real life, a voice deep in his heart kept chanting: I want to meet him. I want to see him.
XiaoYu pulled up the Mail tab. He wrote his address in a letter and handed it to QiYao. The other man could tell from the silent actions that XiaoYu was saying yes. He tenderly slid the paper into his pocket. How wonderful. He was one step closer to his XiaoYu now.
“I want to meet up with you tomorrow.” If it was possible, QiYao would’ve flown all the way over to XiaoYu that very night. However, he knew XiaoYu wasn’t used to staying up late. Even if they were in the same city, it’d take around an hour to get to the other man’s place and it was already near midnight. It was better to let XiaoYu rest first, then go to him tomorrow.
“Okay, but my house is a little messy.” It’d been over a month since XiaoYu had logged off. Frankly, he’d almost forgotten what his house looked like. He didn’t know if the clothes, books and magazines scattered throughout the place had been put away or not.
“Hehe. It’s fine.” QiYao landed a gentle peck of XiaoYu’s lips. “How about tomorrow afternoon?”
“Okay. Ah, I’ll give you my phone number.” Afraid that QiYao would find it hard to get to his place, XiaoYu scribbled a series of numbers on a paper before handing it over. It was the number of his house’s landline. Because XiaoYu was always at home, he rarely ever needed a phone. Therefore, he’d cancelled the auto-debit link between his bank account and his mobile. His number would’ve been deactivated soon after.
“What do I do, XiaoYu? I can’t wait for tomorrow to arrive.”
“Me too.” No matter what the outcome was, even if QiYao would be utterly disappointed by him tomorrow, XiaoYu at least wanted to have met the other man once.
“Wife”: More accurately, “sis” or “ane”. Anyone who’s into those “gangster” shows will know what I mean here.